Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, founder, president and chairman of the A1 Grand Prix, has revealed that he had to pay 20,000 Euros at one race track just to hire four scooters, as he audited the state of play of the new championship at its half-way mark.

The Sheikh also revealed that he approached the first half of the first season of the new championship which pitches nation against nation out on the race track, with a 'no expense spared' approach.

The A1 Grand Prix started with a fanfare at Brands Hatch in Great Britain in September and has since raced in Portugal, Germany, Australia, Malaysia and Dubai. Whilst the Brands Hatch round enjoyed a massive crowd, the subsequent events have been somewhat lower key, although the reported television figures have looked exceptionally good.

"Too well," Sheikh Maktoum told Radio when asked how things were going at the half-way mark of the championship. "We had three weeks between Malaysia and Dubai and it gave us great hindsight to looking really at the problems and really addressing them.

"When you start a championship it's very hard to improve from one race to the next, it's already a tremendous amount of work keeping at a standard, but it's even harder taking it to another level," explains Sheikh Maktoum.

But that, nevertheless, has been Sheikh Maktoum's goal and as he scrutinised the outgoings from the rounds to date, there were a few aspects which raised eyebrows.

"I found out that at one circuit I got charged twenty thousand Euros for renting four scooters," he explains. "It's small things like that. Our costs for travel per head are about three or four times that which you would normally have.

"At the beginning I spared no cost, for the first six races, but between Malaysia and Dubai we really had a situation audit on where we are financially, where we are commercially, and focused on the business side of things."

Whilst he might have paid rather more than desired for paddock transport at one, unnamed, circuit, the racing spectacle is something that the Sheikh reckons has been well and truly achieved.

"We provide some of the best racing there is on the planet," he boasts. "With no doubt, the Malaysian race with the dice between the British, the French and the Swiss was just absolutely phenomenal and the race in Dubai was really, really great."

The next A1 Grand Prix round is due to take place at the Indonesian circuit of Sentul on January 15th.



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